Alexander Peden’s Cave by the River Lugar in Ayrshire
Peden’s Cave near Auchinbay farm in Ochiltree parish, Ayrshire, is recorded in on the Canmore website:
‘This cave measures 6ft high, 4ft wide, and about 8ft long; its bottom is about 10ft above the bed of the River Lugar. It is evidently artificial as the marks of the tools used in hollowing it out are quite visible, cut in solid freestone rock, rising vertically from the water’s edge. The only way of access is from the top, by six steps, each 15 ins apart, cut in the rock. It is generally thought that the name derives from the Rev Alexander Peden (one of the most famous Covenanting ministers) having hidden there for some time.’
The Canmore entry is based on the OS Name Book of 1856 entry for it under Ochiltree parish:
‘This cave is evidently artificial, as the marks of the chisel or other instrument used in the hollowing of it out, are quite visible. Cut in a solid freestone rock which rises about 20 feet perpendicular from the water edge. The bottom of the cave is about 10 feet above the bed of the river, 4 feet wide and about 8 long. The only way of access to it is from the top by 6 steps each 15 inch apart cut in the rock. It is generally supposed by the people of the neighbourhood that the prophet Peden lay concealed here for some time, from which circumstance the name is derived.’
I visited the cave with Dane Love of the Scottish Covenanting Memorial Association as part of a radio programme produced by Dr Louise Yeoman for BBC Radio Scotland in 2009. Here are some photos of the cave from our day out.
The entry to the cave is well hidden by a steep cliff edge. If you are planning to visit it, please take great care as entry is down some precipitous steps and round a blind corner. There is a rope somewhere down there.
A view of the entry from inside the cave.
Inside is a seat carved out of the rock.
The cave looks out over a steep drop to the River Lugar and faces cliffs on the opposite bank. It is a well concealed location.
Did Peden shelter there? Tradition claims that he did.
For more about Alexander Peden, see here.
Text and Additional Photos © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.